More Quick-Loading ‘Instant Articles’ Coming to Facebook

20 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Focuses on Emerging Markets for New Products.

In May, Facebook started testing its Instant Articles feature, allowing select news publishers to publish full stories directly on Facebook’s mobile apps.Speaking at WSJDLive, The Wall Street Journal’s global technology conference, Facebook product chief Chris Cox said the company’s road map is shaped by how Facebook is used in countries such as Indonesia, India, Thailand and Myanmar, places where the service is popular but connections are often poor.

Because Instant Articles can be read in full without ever leaving the Facebook app to go to a mobile browser, they load a lot faster and create a more seamless reading experience. “Starting today, people will see a lightning bolt on the top right corner of some stories shared in News Feed,” Facebook Product Manager Michael Reckhow wrote on the company’s official blog. “The lightning bolt indicates it’s an Instant Article. When you tap the story, it loads ten times faster than a standard mobile web article.” In addition to creating fast-loading articles, publishers also have the option to incorporate interactive features into Instant Articles, such as video, slideshows, and geotagged images linked to a map. Cox said. “If we can lower that barrier, if we can lower that friction, it’s a huge service.” Publishers join the program hoping to gain readers, especially on mobile devices, with the faster load times.

You will now be able to read Instant Articles from The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, NBC News, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, MTV, Cosmo, Time, The Onion, Mashable, Rolling Stone, Refinery 29, People, Fox Sports, Entertainment Weekly, Bleacher Report, and others. Those who are expected to use Instant Articles in the coming months include: Billboard, Bleacher Report, Business Insider, Bustle, CBS News, CBS Sports, CNET, Mashable, Mental Floss, The Onion, TIME, USA Today, Variety, The Verge and The Weather Channel.

At first Facebook called them “Immersive ads” and then the “ads canvas”, but really, they’re the paid promotional equivalent to its hosted organic initiative Instant Articles. Publishers can track data and traffic through comScore, Adobe ADBE -1.88 % Analytics and Google Analytics, Facebook said in a news release on Tuesday.

Apple’s News app was unveiled with iOS 9, Twitter has started curating current events in its app, and Snapchat has been tinkering with its Discover editorial pages in recent months. More than 80% of Facebook’s users are outside of the U.S. and Canada, and the company has taken a series of steps in recent years to shore up connectivity in its fastest-growing markets. Earlier this month, Google announced its version of fast-loading articles for the mobile web, Accelerated Mobile Pages, in order to fend off app-hosted content from Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Facebook’s advantage, however, is that it’s already one of the biggest players in online media, driving large amounts of traffic to publishers every day. The social network recently renamed the app “Free Basics,” after critics said it favors Facebook properties at the expense of others, violating the concept of “net neutrality.” Mr. So it makes sense that publishers are eager to start creating and testing Instant Articles, especially because it’s likely that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm will favor fast-loading, in-app articles over links that take users out to Chrome or Safari. Instead of penalizing users for opening ads by interrupting their social experience with a slow-loading mobile website, Facebook pre-caches the marketer’s content so it appears immediately when users tap.

I could tilt my phone to scan across its mayo-laced bun, swipe through photos of onions and pickles, and watch an animation of someone drawing with ketchup. Instant Ads epitomize Facebook’s ad strategy, which is about making the result of online marketing some kind action taken or emotional impact, rather than a short-lived click to a website.

Facebook now has Buy buttons that let you purchase products you see within feed ads with your credit card on file so you never visit a merchant’s site. Instant Articles pose a serious risk to news and content publishers who lose the relationship with their audience that leads to loyal readership and subscriptions. But for the user, a Facebook where you can see friends, read news, watch videos, and even experience ads without enduring crappy mobile load times sounds like more fun.

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